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Re: [] Web app stores

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [] Web app stores
Date: Fri, 6 May 2011 13:41:23 +0100 (BST)

Luis Villa wrote: [...]
> And on non-freedom issues, app stores are pretty clearly superior to
> apt, yum, etc. as currently implemented. They're better for end users:
> * You actually get the code that the developer intended you to get-
> it's updated regularly and reliably and it is better-tested. (Debian
> and Fedora rarely add value.)

That is the biggest error in the argument.  I don't have as much
experience with Fedora, but Debian gives you the code that the
*developers* intended.  Note: plural.  This should not get into
a tug-of-war between the initial developer and later contributors.
Put your egos aside: think of the end users!

I think you're hinting at the occasional App-original versus
App-debian-integrated tug-of-wars.  I don't see an obvious reason
why app stores will be immune to similar tug-of-wars between initial
developers and later contributors, but it'll probably be one app store
owner deciding if App-original or App-adapted is the one listed
as "the" App. I doubt we'll see any discussion of the choice as open as
debian-devel or any solution to irreconcilable differences as nice as
debian's virtual packages, but I could be wrong.

If no app store has yet dealt with such a conflict, it's probably just
that they're too young.

Of course, debian adds value like integration, any build flags needed
to make it (closer to?) FHS and LSB, a consistent reportbug system, a
choice of version depending on how much testing you want, and so on.
If it doesn't need integration or special build options (because it
follows common standards), the packaging can be a 3-line debian/rules
file and some descriptive metadata (IIRC: maybe it's 2 lines by now).

In my experience, some initial developers won't believe that some
users don't want their untested latest nightly snapshot build and
don't want all their software in /opt: should I really have to avoid
or fork their app?

> * They collect reviews and user information, so they're actually
> better at helping people find software that works.

The debian package tracking system and popcon already does some of that.
Maybe we could extend it to link off-site reviews.

> * They never choke on dependencies. If the app is there, it works. [...]

Errr, unless you've already got a different incompatible version of a
dependency on your system for another app you need.  Having N copies
of different compatible versions of libraries on a system is wasteful.
Lest we forget, DLL Hell was real.

I feel most of the rest of the argument falls as a consequence.

App stores may be useful, but building them on package managers
seems like the best move.

Hope that helps,
MJ Ray (slef), member of, a for-more-than-profit co-op.
Webmaster, Debian Developer, Past Koha RM, statistician, former lecturer.
In My Opinion Only: see
Available for hire for various work through

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